Jun 25 2013

Mt. St. Helens – June 22, 2013

One thing about this ride is that it is far away – a solid 2 hours by car. By the time we hit MortonI really had to go. My advice is to take I-5 all the way to around Chehalis and then head east on 12. People picked up some food – I got three packs of fig newtons.

We started off this ride at Randle instead of the real High Pass Challenge route that starts at Packwood.
Our goal was climbing. Kary had two bikes – his brand new Cervelo and his trusty Ti bike. He started off
with the Cervelo. We tried a little pacelining, moving along at 17+. The weather was great as we rode onto
Forest Road 25. We then started climbing. I was part way up the first climb when I found that it was difficult
to shift from the large to the small chain ring. I figured I was going to have to adjust my efforts for this

The group pretty much spread out – I was going to try to keep up with Kary, Eric P., and Craig, but when it
came time to shift to the big ring I had to drop back and sit in the small ring. Tim passed me by after
a little while and then Eric Y. caught up to me. We kept up an easy pace for a while to the food stop. Many
thanks go to Gail for providing support – she was waiting for us at the Wakepish Sno Park stop. We all fueled up and took on as many provisions as we could since the road going up was closed to vehicles. I popped a few Endurolytes and took some spam musubi (thanks Kary and Gail!) and peanut butter only sandwiches (thanks Craig!) and filled up on water. Kary switched out his bike for his Ti bike. We then headed out.

It was a relatively easy grade so people didn’t get too strung out, but as the grade increased we all got strung out. I was out front for a ways, but then Eric P. just took off at a steady but fairly fast pace. Kary and I rode together for a ways and then when it came time to shift to the big ring I hung back and Kary kept his steady pace. It stayed that way pretty much through until we hit Bear Meadows. I saw someone taking pictures at Bear Meadows – it looked like Eric P. but the jersey was a different color so I kept my mouth shut.  Kary was waiting at the Cascade Peaks stop. When we did the High Pass Challenge a couple of years ago they had some great sandwiches. I got some reasonable pictures of the guys coming into the stop. After a short time, Eric P. came in. It turned out the guy taking pictures was Eric P. – he just took off his outer jersey.

At this point, it’s another 7 miles to Windy Ridge. The scenery is outstanding – a deep valley on one side and
the mountain almost close enough to touch. The road winds around the hills. On the High Pass Challenge you
can see other cyclists far away – they look like little dots moving along the road. On the way up we saw plenty
of snow off to the side of the road. Since forest road 99 was closed to vehicles we had the road to ourselves.
I munched on a peanut butter only sandwich courtesy of Craig.

We were unsupported so I hoped nothing would happen. We started out for the last seven miles to Windy Ridge.
There are a few deceptive rollers at this point and the road has a lot of curves in it. Eric Y. took off first.
I forgot that he is a pretty good descender. Kary and I managed to catch up to him before Craig and Eric P.
overtook us. Shortly after, we stopped at another lookout point and I gave Craig some much needed Endurolytes. We then made it to Windy Ridge, the end of the majority of climbing. The ride back was mostly downhill with some climbs interspersed. Kary and I rode together for a while up to Bear Meadows and then people mostly took off. Kary stayed with me down to the rest stop at Wakepish. We picked up Eddie, fueled up, and took off. Once again, people strung out as Craig and Eric P. took off followed by Kary, Eric Y., Eddie, and me. But soon I had to drop off once it was time to hit the big ring. I later hit the big ring when I knew the majority of the ride down was all downhill. I finally caught up to Eric Y. He and I kept each other company back to the finish where Craig, Eddie, Eric P., and Kary were waiting. Soon after, Victor and Tim rolled in. A great finish to a challenging ride!

Thanks to Gail for providing support!

Thanks to Craig for the custom peanut butter only sandwiches

Thanks to Eric Y. for driving and Thanks to Victor for keeping Eric Y. awake on the drive back!